Study on Legislation against Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status
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AbstractThe Study is carried out by a multi-disciplinary research team of 7 faculty members from 7 academic disciplines.

The study featured a territory-wide telephone public opinion survey with 1,005 respondents; qualitative findings collected from three public forums, 14 LGBTI focus groups, 13 public focus groups including those with strong concerns, as well as online and postal submission of opinions. The study also conducted legal review and analysis of comparable anti-discrimination legislation in other jurisdictions, including those with similar legal systems to Hong Kong and those which share similar Chinese cultural characteristics and influences, including Taiwan and Macau.

According to the findings of the Study, the discrimination that LGBTI people reported is notable regardless of places of occurrence, life stages of the victims, and demographic characteristics of the perpetrators. In general, all the subgroups of LGBTI people had faced discrimination. They included the lower-income groups such as foreign domestic helpers as well as higher-income earners such as those working in the finance or entertainment industries. It seems that only the forms of discrimination that LGBTI people of different backgrounds face are qualitatively different. Many LGBTI people indicated that the sources of perpetrators in the discriminatory situations were higher up in the power hierarchy than themselves, such as their employers, senior administrators or teachers, rendering means of redressing discrimination either not useful or virtually non-existent. In the domain of education, in extreme cases, teachers, counsellors and social workers were perceived to be the perpetrators of discrimination.

Clear support for anti-discrimination legislation on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status was also expressed by members of the general public who participated in the study. Based on the telephone survey, 55.7% of respondents agree with legal protection for LGBTI persons. This is almost a twofold increase from the corresponding figure (28.7%) in a 2005 Government survey. Support was particularly strong among those aged 18-24, 91.8% of whom agreed with legislation. Although there were strong views expressed against legislation from some religiously-affiliated groups during the study, nearly half (48.9%) of survey respondents who identified as having religious beliefs agreed that there should be legal protection against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.

The study also paid particular attention on ways to address the various concerns raised in relation to potential legislation. Based on the comparative legal review, it is reasonable to conclude that it is possible to balance the need to protect LGBTI people from discrimination with such concerns and rights of other groups to freedoms of expression and religion, and the right to privacy. In particular, the Study considered exemptions in a number of jurisdictions around the world.

Based on the research findings, the study concludes that the discussion needs to move from the question of whether or not there should be legislation on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status to that of how such legislation should be designed. There is no question that the Hong Kong Government should launch a public consultation with a view to legislating against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status. It is crucially important for the consultation exercise to contain as many concrete details as possible to minimize misunderstandings and unnecessary anxieties. In consulting the public, the government should provide clear definitions of the coverage of any possible legislation, including possible domains to be covered, as well as exemptions that can potentially be considered.
All Author(s) ListSUEN Yiu Tung, WONG Wai Ching Angela, BARROW Amy Elizabeth, WONG Miu Yin, MAK Wing Sze Winnie, CHOI Po King Dora, LAM Ching Man, LAU Joseph T. F.
Year2016
Month1
Day26
Pages1 - 243
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2018-20-01 at 19:35